|About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search|
~ eight days later ~
Personal diary of King Durin VII
Where to begin? How to articulate all I want to say?
For the beginning, three words: it is over.
Noin is fine. Ernis too – she is recovering excellently and is walking better and better. Nardi is also getting much better. According to his healer's directions, he still shouldn't get up, but I see that he starts to disobey the order. If his leg wasn't broken, which means that he can't walk without crutches, I think that even Mahal couldn't stop him from going to battle.
Altogether, it has lasted twelve days. We conquered all the levels – all the big halls and all those numerous other caves. The closer we were to victory, I had the feeling that it was getting harder: we were so close, yet so far. For all those fallen in the very end I wonder if anything could have been done differently, and if those deaths could have been avoided.
And it really was difficult in the end – the orcs opposed us with all their strength to the very last one, and they caused additional troubles by partially collapsing of one tunnel. That event caused more casualties and we spent a lot of time until we managed to clear the tunnel from the debris.
Some of the orcs tried to escape through the passage descending from the Third Level towards the Main Tunnel. But by that time, our soldiers – those sent to inspect the mines – had already progressed forward enough, so they intercepted the fugitives and destroyed them all.
Now, the only thing remaining is just that – the clearing of the mines and lower passages. And although it is a big space – the labyrinth of the caves and tunnels forming the mines is very large – I think that I can use the word "only". Because it turned out that those lower levels checked so far were empty, so I believe the same applies to the rest. Maybe some more orcs are looking for the opportunity to escape that way, but all those tunnels are a dead-end.
We have so much more work to do. Beginning with getting rid of the bodies of the orcs. There are some two to three thousand more that we haven't resolved till now. Like the other bodies earlier, they will be tossed through the crevices into the deepest chasms and there they'll turn into dust. Then we have to thoroughly clear all the caves from the orcish things which will also last for days or, more probably, weeks. But compared to warfare, it is a small thing; I can dub those "pleasant problems", after all. And once that is resolved too, our people can start moving in.
Moving into Khazad-dûm. Oh, how great it sounds! I haven't doubted our success for a single moment. For a long time, I have felt – known – that we'll make it. I knew the moment had come and that it was my fate to lead this quest.
I am happy. And sad. Because the price of our success is a little more than nine hundred fallen. To be more precise – nine hundred and fifty six heroes and heroines who laid down their lives to make this dream come true. They will never be forgotten, and every year a special ceremony will be held in their honour.
I have often wondered – and especially now, when I know how much time and how many lives this victory required – how did Balin son of Fundin expect to reclaim Khazad-dûm with only about five hundred dwarves that he took with him? They conquered only several halls and mines, and held the positions for a short time. Unfortunately, it was an attempt doomed to fail. But they were brave, and I'll always admire them.
And now Khazad-dûm is ours again, and that is how it will remain. Until the very end of Arda, there will be light again in deep places, there will be ringing of hammers and the sound of our songs in the halls.*
As the night was falling, Darri and Faldur were descending towards the camp next to the lake. It is finally over, he thought, not for the first time that day. Although he slept very little in the past two weeks and the battles were very exhausting, it was his spirit that was much more tired than his body.
What remained was the clearing of the mines, but from what he had heard, the task mostly come down to checking nearly empty tunnels and mines, and almost no fighting. He expected that they'd be called again when it would be their squad's turn, but that shouldn't be a difficult or dangerous task because there were very few orcs hiding in the mines.
Finally over. He had had enough of death. The war was necessary to reclaim their home, but this was the most difficult period in their lives. They lost their father... and their childhood friend Bemir would never start to create the new collection of his figures. They also lost two cousins and several acquaintances.
He would never forget any of them.
On the next day, Halldis came to Kheled-zâram around noon, as was the arrangement. Just like the first time she came close and looked at it, she was in awe again. She foresaw it would be the same every time; the dark blue surface full of stars surpassed even the most beautiful starry night and wasn't something to get used to, or to become indifferent to the look of it. But it was not just the beauty, but also the deeper meaning of the place: it would always have a special symbolism for her people. When looking at the surface, she felt as if she was leaving the present day and traveling through time back to the age before the sun and moon, when the first and the oldest among them first established Khazad-dûm. Now it was in their hands again, and she hoped it would remain so forever.
Glorrim was all right, their cousins too, as well as Tyra. During the previous days she saw them shortly a few more times, and this morning they gathered all together again. She hugged Tyra tightly and returned the bracelet; however, she would never hug Lotti anymore. Halted at the very beginning of life, she thought with tears in her eyes. We are young, and he was ten years younger than us.
She lifted her head only when she heard her name; she didn't notice Darri at all while he was approaching. He sat close to her and gently wiped the tears from her cheeks away.
"For Lotti," she said in a trembling voice, looking him in the eyes. "For your father... for all of them."
He embraced her and they stayed like that, close to each other. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, she gazed at the lake again.
"Now the new life begins," she said, still observing Kheled-zâram. It was almost a balm for the soul; something in it brought peace and comfort. "I can't wait to move in and start building our new homes." All she wanted was to leave the war behind and to begin the normal life again.
"And to dig in the mines," added Darri. Her arm was around her shoulders, and she lifted her head towards him. Despite sadness, his presence elicited a smile; when she was with him, everything seemed better.
"I am not a miner. But you'll take me to see them," she said. She had absolutely no knowledge about ores and minerals, but depths attracted her irresistibly – as any dwarf – and she was sure that it would be even more interesting with Darri.
"Of course. And you'll show me your creative workshop," he replied with a smile. He looked her for a few moments, and then gently kissed her.
"We all lost something on this quest... I mean, someone," said Halldis in a low voice when they separated. "Still, I gained so much, too."
He smiled. "So did I, my love."
She smiled. The present moment was filled with sorrow; the war was still too near, the losses too fresh. But the future... yes, Darri and she were still in the beginning of their relationship and she couldn't know what might happen... but it seemed the future looked nice.
* Paraphrase of the quote: "(...) and there was light again in deep places, and the ringing of hammers and the harping of harps (...)."
|<< Back||Next >>|
|Home Search Chapter List|